I can remember watching Dan Fogler in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" just before it hit Broadway.
He was annoying then, but in his defense, he was supposed to be, and he played it very well. The show itself, while more than a little too high on audience participation for my taste, was a lot of fun.
Now, however, he's making his break to the big screen in what looks like a most unfortunate way: As the star of "Balls of Fury." If this movie is somehow more than even intermittently funny, please let me know, because I'll definitely need some convincing before I even touch this one, with or without Christopher Walken.
I have nothing against the notion of spoof movies, or at least I didn't before they starting being so weak they had to put "movie" in the title just in case anybody missed the thoroughly obvious point (as my own petty protest for having been dragged to the absolutely unfunny "Date Movie," none of those flicks will be included in the list that follows.)
In honor (or dishonor, I guess) of Dan Fogler's fairly auspicious movie debut, here are 10 spoofy movies (and I do admittedly use the term more than a little loosely) that still manage to make me laugh. Please feel free to add any I've missed.
1. Blazing Saddles
It was hard to pick just one Mel Brooks movie (and probably unfair to do so), but for me his work was never funnier than in this sendup of Westerns. Perhaps it was Richard Pryor's contribution to writing the script that just made this the most politically incorrect of Brooks' flicks, and one in which everyone is a target for ridicule.
No matter how many of those "movie" movies they inflict on the masses (yes, there is a "Scary Movie 5" in the works), you have to give props to Jim Abrahams and David Zucker. Shirley you don't doubt this spoof of disaster movies is simply one of the funniest movies ever made.
3. Top Secret
Zucker and Abrahams again, I concede, but when I was 14 years old I thought this was the funniest movie around. I was clearly wrong, but I do miss the days when Val Kilmer was a funny guy, particularly here and in "Tombstone."
4. Our Man Flint
In many ways this spoof starring James Coburn as a sendup of James Bond was an omen of what would later go wrong with some Bond movies that just lost their way. Coburn, however, is very funny, and the "scientific" weapons they come up with are worth the price of admission by themselves.
5. Spinal Tap!
It's hard to believe now that Rob Reiner was ever this funny (in his defense, I did watch "Dave" on a recent Saturday morning, and if you can stomach it's heavyhanded politics, that was a much better flick than I remembered it being at the time.) If this list were in any kind of logical order, this mocku-rockumentary would be on top.
6. Psycho Beach Party
I concede that the supremely silly work of Charles Busch is definitely not for everyone, but I like it, and this is my list. This 2000 flick riffs on both Gidget and slasher films, and you get Nicholas Brendon and Amy Adams to boot.
7. Hollywood Shuffle
What in the world ever happened to Robert Townsend? I can't remember seeing him in anything since his fairly dreadful sitcom "The Parent 'Hood," but very few people have made funnier debuts that had more to say than this flick (and I'd certainly put out a little cash for a 20th anniversary edition on DVD, if anyone's listening.)
8. Life of Brian
If you're gonna spoof on anyone, why not start at the top. The Pythons' riff on Jesus, while being very funny, is not nearly as blasphemous as many might think, and actually surpisingly sweet. I first watched it, after all, at an Episcopal youth group meeting, so just how sacreligious can it really be?
9. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
If you like film noir (and if you don't, why in the world not?), you'll probably have a soft spot for this old parody starring Steve Martin and directed by Carl Reiner. It's not quite as funny as it should be, but it's still fun to see old favorites like Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck pop up throughout.
10. Best In Show
Christopher Guest's movies works best when you can either like or identify with the people in the flick, as you can with this dead-on shot at dog shows. The laughs fly funnier in "Waiting for Guffman," but this is still my favorite of his works.
And there you have it. As I said, if you see "Balls of Fury" and enjoy it, please let me know, and feel free to add any great spoofs I have snubbed (shirley there are many.) Peace out.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Posted by Reel Fanatic at 5:48 AM